Sunday, November 23, 2014

Legion of Womb Week 9

One of the best things I love about football is how unpredictable it is. During the last week of August when The Legion of Womb first got together, we helped draft a team whose owner was unable to attend the draft party. We felt quite devious so we drafted a kicker for her in the first round. If you knew Tracy, you would understand how perfect this was. She is one that loves a great prank, and usually she is on the giving end.

After we congratulated ourselves for the amusing thing we did, we got serious about drafting a decent team for her. But, once the season began, the joke was on us. After her first win she posted: “I will make a winning speech.......After all the time and effort I put into picking my team....I’d like to thank all the little people who made it all possible........and for picking me a kicker first :)” From that moment on, Tracy never looked back. Going into the week she played me, she had only lost twice and tied once. She was in first place, and I was feeling pretty sheepish about how I initially handled her team.

That was until, a little bird – in the form of someone else’s husband – let us in on the fact that we weren’t’ really playing Tracy, we were, in fact, playing Eric. Tracy’s dirty little secret: Eric the Husband; the player without a womb. As I grappled with the betrayal that ripped through my heart, I confronted the wombless Eric. To which he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Yeah, I had to trade that kicker as soon as I could.” Wait…what?!? No guilt? No remorse? “I had to trade away a few players but I picked up Steven Haushka, Lamar Miller and Koby Fleener. You guys left a lot of good players on the board. It was crazy.” Of course there were good players left! This was a league for women who are just learning the sport of football. They aren’t going to know every single elite player in the NFL. It’s not meant to be a league where a husband can swoop in and glean the ripe fruit of the draft board. Does taking candy from babies mean anything to you? To which he replied, “I like candy.”

He qualified the statement by admitting that he doesn’t do all of the action with the team by himself, they both do it. “I will yell to Tracy. ‘Tracy! I’m trading Austin Miles for Koby Fleener!’ And from somewhere in the house she yells back, ‘OK!’ So we are doing it together.” Well, how can I argue with undertakings that help communication and teamwork in a marriage?

As the weekend progressed, I overcame wombless players, candy from babies, and marital communications and I beat the Mad Hatter. It was a moral and a personal victory and one that I had an uncharacteristically high amount of pride in doing.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Week 8 - Legion of Womb

I’ve been schooled in a very convincing way this week. This match-up between Nikki and me was going to prove to be interesting. Out of all the amazing ladies in our league, Nikki is the one that knows football better than I do. And the score of Week 8 proved it, there was a 26 point differential.

I met Nikki 8 years ago, when our boys became friends as 12 year old 5th graders, these boys are now 20 year old men in college. We both have dark curly hair, three kids and 20+ year marriages. We love Jesus, our husbands, our children, coffee and of course, football. We don’t see each other nearly as much as we would like, we both have very active households and work. Nikki is a master barista at Starbucks and, of all places, when we’re able to get together, that is where we spend hours solving our own problems as well as most of the worlds. There is hours of coffee, numerous potty breaks and plenty of talk about football, whether youth football, high school, college or our beloved Seahawks. We are both life time Seahawks fans and we can reminisce about the team during the ’90s when they were 2-14 as easily as we can talk about the current team.

We understand ourselves well enough that we can text one word and understand the message exactly. I look back over my texts with Nikki and I laugh; there is no pretext, no setting the scene just abrupt statements or questions. Four weeks ago I asked her “Who is Matt Asiata?!?!?” He seemed to come out of nowhere, this RB from Minnesota. But Nikki knew something was up and acquired him off of waivers the week before. He went on to score over 28 points for her. Her only response was, “I know right?” A few weeks later when the trade of Percy Harvin surprised everyone, I received a text that only said “What what what the heck? There had to be some drama going on.” There was no misunderstanding what she was texting about. After the Seahawks two losses in a row, her text read. “You in hiding?” and yes, I indeed was hiding, well pouting to be exact.

And although we can complete each other’s sentences when it comes to football, we are first and foremost wives and mothers. And as we got excited to play one another in week 8, the worst news this community could withstand happened. This region where we live, just recently getting off its knees from a mudslide that made national and global news, has once again found itself rocked. Another school shooting, not at our own local high school where our children go, but at the district just south of us. Everyone in our town knew someone who attends that school, whether a student or staff. Over the next few days we dealt with shock, new information from the incident, and deepening levels of grief. Everything was pushed to the side without thought, as we gathered our families, consoled our children, and struggled through our own fears. We kept our kids close, and that’s where they wanted to be.

Understandably, Nikki and my hearts weren’t completely into the match-up this week. And yet, what makes sports something I love is the fact that you can set your troubles aside for a while and enjoy a few hours of competition. The troubles won’t be forgotten or solved; I will still have the responsibility of working through them, but sports give us a way to temporarily put our burdens down. We enjoyed a Sunday of football, in a subdued way. NFL victories were a little hollow and NFL defeats weren’t nearly as devastating.

Nikki and I shared some banter and we made sure that we bet something so that we both would love, win or lose. I owe Nikki a very large coffee, a huge hug and hours of soul-healing fellowship.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Week 7 Legion of Womb

Week 7 was a week where we found out how much thicker blood was than water. It was a family torn by the internal strife of mother against daughter, the beginnings of a blood feud. We knew this week would come upon us, we just didn’t realize the depth of distress that this competition would take us.

It was my week to face off against my daughter. For the last sixteen years, we have always worked together. And now this week we were placed at odds with one another. How would we do in a situation foreign to our relationship? Could we hold up under the pressure of the competition? Would our relationship ever look the same?

As last week ended, I found a few moments to set my line-up and check on hers. It was in that moment, I realized I had done my daughter a great dis-service. I have taught her to cook, and have taught her to take care of laundry, what are hand washables and what are regular load. I have helped her learn to take care of her hair and make-up, but somewhere I dropped the ball. I looked to help others at the expense of my own family, it was so hard to admit and face myself in the mirror. I forgot to tell her “O” means out and “IR” means injured reserve.

So I approached her last Friday night after a very long day at school, soccer practice and volunteering hours at a local elementary school for Honor Society. She was exhausted on the couch, but I knew I had to get this confession over quick, like ripping a band aid off a wound. “Kat,” I said, “You need to find some running backs off waivers…soon.”
You have two running backs in your line-up that are either out or on injured reserve.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means you have two running backs that are out or on injured reserve.”
“Can you help me with that? I’m exhausted.”
She looked at me at that moment, and I was transported back to my little Kat at two years old. Her large brown eyes, her innocent look, and the way she would want to act “just like mommy”. And I said, “No.”
“Why not?”
“Because we are playing against one another and I plan to kick your…knee.”

After a few more minutes of pleading and begging, Kat went to the computer to check her team. I told her the strategy I use to find players off waivers, how to add and drop a player, and how to set the line—up the most strategic way possible. And then I turned to walk out of the room to let her to it on her own.

“Mom, I’m really exhausted. I have PSAT’s at 7:30 in the morning. Do I have to do this now?”
“Young lady! You will not leave this computer until you claim two running backs off waivers! Have I made myself clear? Don’t make me repeat myself!”

The world’s heaviest sigh and largest eye-roll arose from my daughter at that moment. As I stormed out of the room, I could hear her muttering about being the only kid to get in trouble for not playing FF right. I went about my business that Friday night as Kat chose to add Isaiah Crowell and Knile Davis and drop Kyle Rudolph and Montee Ball.

As Sunday came and went, I forgot to check my FF match-up with Kat. But as a Seahawk fan, I became very pre-occupied about a last minute trade with the Jets that left my FF team name irrelevant now (Lord have Percy). I also became aware of my sudden revelation that I hate special teams trick plays with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns.

When Monday was upon us, I remembered to check our match-up. I had so much confidence in my expertise and her ignorance. I had concluded almost from the beginning how this week’s match-up would end. I wasn’t expecting what I saw…

Lord Have Percy 80.88 and The Kat Box 90.61

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Week 5 Legion of Womb

Week 5 was here and gone and many of us LOWers are now in a good routine. Our league is being led by a sixteen year old girl whose draft strategy included picking players with funny sounding names. So even though she doesn’t know who Demaryus Thomas is if he was standing in front of her with his jersey on, he gave her almost 40 points last week. Those 40 points were used to crush me to dust. So, while I pick the sand out of my teeth, my darling young opponent is completely distracted by homecoming week.
More interesting match-ups occurred like one between Tani and Lisa. They are long time best friends and teachers, dedicated wives, and soccer moms. So at our daughters’ high school soccer game earlier this week I decided to help get the competition started between Tani and Lisa by engaging in some smack talk:

Me: “Tani is gonna whoop all over you!”
Lisa: “What?”
Me: “Yeah, Tani is playing you this week in fantasy football.”
Lisa: “Oh, say…do you want a small or medium for the sweatshirt you ordered?”
Me: “Medium…Wow that is a cute bag where’d you get it?”
Lisa: “My friend was holding a party at her house. You want one? The ordering is still open.”
Me: “Yeah, I’d like one.”
Lisa: “I’m sorry I distracted you, what were you saying?”
Me: “What?”
Lisa; “You were talking?
Me: “I was?”

So it didn’t go as planned, but I got a great tote!

The best conversation by far was during Monday Night Football as a few of the LOWers got together to watch. I was with Shelli and Tracy, two very smart, creative and dear friends. They are both successful business owners and have differing degrees of football acumen. Shelli, who knows much more about basketball than football was feeding us blogging “gold”. MNF was very intense for the 12’s (as we are all 12’s, even though we were only 3). Pressure was adding up as the Seahawks kept tripping themselves up with penalties. As a Seahawks fan, my blood pressure was building. Towards the end of the game, Tracy came to my rescue by giving me crochet needles and yarn; she was in fear of a medical emergency. I found out that I create when I’m all wound up with anxiety, and although it was supposed to be a pot holder, it looked more like a thimble. Through the entire game, Shelli kept the tension light with her unintended yet hilarious remarks like this one after another offsides penalty on Seattle:
Shelli: “If they make five fouls are they taken out of the game?”
Tracy: “Are you talking about penalties?”
Shelli: “Yes, penalties. Are they taken out of the game if they commit five penalties like in basketball?”
Me: “No, but we’ll wish they were.”

After a Washington reception and an immediate tackle by Seattle:
Shelli: “Can you hit him like that?! That was very hard?! I mean was that a foul? He just caught the ball and they hit him! It was really hard; I don’t think that’s right.”
Tracy and me: “That’s called a tackle.”

Amongst many random comments during the game:
Shelli: “Why don’t their shoes match? I don’t think I can watch if their shoes don’t match.”
Shelli: “How come we’re in the bright colored suits? Those are going to be really hard to clean.”

As it looked like our Seahawks were going to pull off a victory, we got down to some serious fantasy discussion. Tracy, who wasn’t able to make the live draft, is third behind second place Cherene in league standing up to this point. Tracy’s team was group-drafted and we had decided that she couldn’t pass up on it kicker in the first round. Now we realize that she’s going to beat the majority of us. In keeping with her competitive nature, we heard her say, “Who is this Cherene and how do I get rid of her?”

PS - As the football game progressed, Tana, who was still a grandma-in-waiting at that time, was texting to keep many of us updated on the progress of her daughter who was in the hospital and gearing up for labor. The next morning at 6AM in another text update, still no baby, but Tana had another concern on her mind. “On another note 3 touchdowns for Percy called back by flags really???? Just had to chuckle, lost by two points because of those called back touchdowns.”

We now have a very proud grandma and a very new member of the Legion of Womb. Elliott was born Wednesday shortly after noon. So while Percy Harvin couldn’t deliver for Tana on Monday, her daughter Karis delivered for her on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Weeks 3 & 4 - Legion of Womb

Week 3 was a very odd week for me. I was visiting my son in Texas where he’s going to college. He is not a very avid football fan and the whole weekend was taken up with visiting and getting to know his life at college. There was the oil change, the financial conversations and the professors but no football. His friends took sympathy on me and helped me keep up with football this weekend by putting it on their phones. I know that there are many readers concerned over my son’s apparent disinterest in football, and I want to reassure you, I will never give up the cause, I will never back down, I will never give in.

Meanwhile back in Texas, I was getting texts. I was asked about trick plays and if those plays count for fantasy points. Some of the match-ups included best friends, who ended up accusing each other of cheating, and smarmy acceptance speeches from those who man-handled their match-ups. My daughter won her match-up, and then practiced her end-zone dance in order to show me when I arrived back in Washington.

In Week 4, I played the grandma-in-waiting Tana. As of writing this blog, there is still no word if her grandson has been born. So between occasional smack talk, was the updates on her daughter’s pregnancy. There was a mother/daughter match-up between Tani and McKenna that was pretty close all the way to the end with McKenna edging out her mom. Nikki who was playing Shelli struck gold when she started Matt Asiata, whom no one had ever heard of…until he gained her over 28 points. Which I would have given the Surprise of the week to until I saw we had a match-up end in a tie. Cherene and Tracy! In my years of playing fantasy I can’t remember ever seeing a tie. When I asked the players how they felt about the tie Cherene responded, “What kind of tie? A bow tie? Does it have stripes or dots?”

There is still more work to do…

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 2: Legion of womb

I didn't realize that I had forgotten to post this. I wrote it a week a week ago when these issues were very much the center of attention. I almost discarded my post but decided to publish it anyway:

I sit at my computer trying to write and I contritely hang my head. A month ago I had invited my friends to take part in a great idea; to have a season of fun playing fantasy football. Within a week football has taken a seat and the problem of domestic violence has taken its place.

I am unsure of what to write. I have heard so many voices in the media, the players, and the NFL. I hear the criticisms coming from those who think the NFL should have done more. I have heard the demand for the commissioner’s job, heard the denials of who saw and didn’t see the video tapes. Seething anger has been aroused against the NFL for the way they have handled the reports, or lack of handling them. I have nothing to add to those voices or those opinions. Like everyone, I wish to sift through the grandstanding and the rhetoric of so many to get to the true issue and problem. As I have tried to streamline my view, and as that has occurred, the focus has gotten smaller and smaller until only one person is left, me.

I want true justice to be served. I want everyone with an agenda to step aside and get back to the original issue. An abuser and a victim. I want to take it further; I want it beyond the NFL. Not that they are off the hook. I want them squarely on the hook, except I believe that hook needs to be very large. I think a few more need to be placed there as well, myself included. If I am demanding an end to domestic violence in the NFL, if I want them to get it right then what am I doing about the issue? And, might I ask, what are you doing?

I read on a web site that stated 1000 acts of domestic violence alone occur every day*. This isn’t just an NFL issue. If there was only 1 act of domestic violence it’s too many. The NFL is a huge corporation, and I understand that I don’t have access to the resources that they do. But responsibility needs to lie with each one of us as well.

So once again, I ask, what are we doing? I believe we need to demand that the NFL stays relevant and involved in the solution of this criminal act, but are we demanding the same things of ourselves. Are we willing to help and put a solid effort into fighting against this crime and many others that involve helpless victims? If this terrible week in the NFL has brought you to a new awareness and if it has stirred your emotions, then focus that energy on helping the victims of domestic violence. There are local shelters that need our resources, help, and time. If bringing those to justice is more your preference, then help in that capacity. There are organizations that fight for victims of violence and human trafficking. They prosecute the offenders in the justice system. Give of your resources to them or use your talents to help. If you want to get the word out, there are varieties of ways to raise awareness.

Don’t be angry for a week and then make it the sole responsibility of the NFL to get it right. It’s your turn too. Don’t just demand a change from someone else, make your own.
(Jennifer Truman, Sept, 2014)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week 1: Legion of Womb

Well the first week is in the books. And the first match-ups in the Legion of Womb are completed. We had a landslide victory of 43 points and two squeakers where the winners won by less than one point, .60 and .10, to be exact.

Fellow LOW owners are trading, re-arranging and benching like pros. We have had players taken off of waivers and one of our owners looks like they are rebuilding already. (She would neither confirm nor deny that these waiver acquisitions were prompted and/or carried out by her husband).

I’ve noticed the hint of a different culture beginning to emerge. Faint stirrings of a new awareness. What rumblings do I see from the distance? The random texts coming from these friends during the first Thursday night football game. I’m usually on Twitter while I’m watching football; I have always had the great pleasure of being able to connect with like-minded sports fans from all over. But now, with my league taking a personal interest in their teams, it has proven to be a delightful surprise. On Thursday night, I had texts coming and going and going from quite a few of them. Whenever an important play happened, I got a text from someone. It could have been shared mutual pleasure, a question, or assertive affirmation that one cannot draft too many tight ends.

Like you, our lives went on besides football, often times intersecting with one another. During the week, I have attended church with an owner; I have shared a long Labor Day weekend, and even sat beside another as we attended a funeral together. We have shed tears of loss, tears of joy and we eagerly await a grandbaby. We’ve gone on vacation, seen kids off to their first day of school as well as welcomed those same children as students to their first day of school. We’ve sat beside each other in the stands cheering on our kids as they play soccer, worried together over our adult children, and gave advice to those with younger babies.

I personally have experienced a job change. While that is an adventure by itself, what makes it notable is two of my owners are my job references as well. Last Tuesday, during a text conversation with Tana, she responds. “A trade: You give me Seattle’s defense in exchange for a good reference.” I chuckled as I stared at that text. It took less than one week for this experiment to get serious. On the heels of that thought came one more troubling: How bad do I want this new job?